Grateful Dead revisit historic 1972 tour on new CD

Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:42pm EDT
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By Mike Ayers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Grateful Dead's long strange trip keeps on truckin' this month. After 39 years, the Dead's seminal live album "Europe '72" has a proper follow up culled from that same tour.

Simply dubbed "Europe '72 Vol. 2" and due out September 20th, the collection highlights more material from the band's historic run in April and May of 1972. Guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir told Reuters that the band's fruitful live performances during that time stemmed from their dedication to practicing as a group and the lack of jet lag.

"The first couple of times we went over there, we felt kind of like a novelty act," Weir said of shows prior to the 1972 European tour. "We went over there and did one-offs, and we were thoroughly jet lagged; we never really had a chance to settle in and pound it out, like we were used to doing."

At the time, the Dead were one of the only bands that played different sets with a sizable repertoire, of which their label, Warner Bros, was well aware. As a result, they had them record every show.

Three songs on "Vol. 2" were selected for possible inclusion on the original set, but didn't make the cut: "Next Time You See Me," "Sing Me Back Home," and "Beat It On Down the Line." The rest were handpicked by producer David Lemieux after listening to the original tour masters.

Lemieux was mindful in constructing the sequence of songs on "Vol. 2" to reflect what a Dead concert would be like from start to finish at that time period. He also consciously chose not to repeat any songs that appeared on the original release.

Early versions of Dead classics such as "Bertha," "Loser" and "Sugaree" highlight the first part of the album. As the set continues, songs heavy on improvisation such as "Dark Star" and a 30-minute version of "The Other One" show off their experimental tendencies, a notion that was relatively absent on the original "Europe '72."

"We were having fun," Weir said. "One of the things about that run, we were playing to new faces. That's both challenging and rewarding. There's a fun factor involved with that, especially when you're lighting them up. And we were doing that with pretty good success."   Continued...

<p>Phil Lesh (L) and Bob Weir, bandmates of late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia, sing the national anthem before the MLB National League baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants on Jerry Garcia tribute night in San Francisco, California August 9, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>